Löw mulls future ahead of World Cup prep match

AFP - [email protected] • 13 May, 2010 Updated Thu 13 May 2010 11:48 CEST
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Germany start their World Cup preparations with a friendly against Malta on Thursday, but coach Joachim Löw has admitted he may walk away after next month's tournament in South Africa.


Having succeeded Jürgen Klinsmann as head coach after the 2006 World Cup, Löw's contract expires once Germany finish with South Africa 2010.

Contract negotiations between Löw and the German Football Federation (DFB) were surprisingly halted in February and put on hold until after the World Cup. While both Löw and DFB president Theo Zwanziger have said they are keen to keep working together, the Germany coach has hinted he may walk away should his side flop at the World Cup.

"Anything is possible," Löw told the magazine Stern this week. "I must have a basic sense of trust in my work and if no such support is there, then it would be hard to continue working."

Löw says he will travel to South Africa without any fears for the future.

"Firstly, I can live with the situation very easily," Löw told Sport Bild. "Secondly, if it should happen that I leave the DFB, it would be absolutely unthinkable for me to start coaching a club now."

Germany's top stars, minus the Bayern Munich players on Champions League duty, will gather at a training camp in Sicily on Monday when the real work for the World Cup begins in earnest and Loew has already set the bar high.

"Clearly, we want to reach the final," said Löw who guided his side to second place at Euro 2008.

"As we are European vice-champions and as losing a World Cup semi-final would be deemed a failure, we can not set our targets below that."

Germany will take on minnows Malta, ranked 154th in the world, in Aachen on Thursday without captain Michael Ballack, plus the Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen players who are on cup duty.

Ballack's Chelsea face Portsmouth in Wembley's FA Cup final on Saturday while Bayern take on Bremen in the German Cup final at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

Löw is expected to blood a handful of promising talent who are all just 21-years-old.

Borussia Dortmund's striker Kevin Grosskreutz and defender Mats Hummels are expected to play a role, along with Bayer Leverkusen defender Stefan Reinartz and goalkeeper Tobias Sippel of newly-promoted Kaiserslautern.

Midfielder Marco Reus, 20, of Borussia Mönchengladbach has been forced to pull out of the game with injury.

Schalke 04 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer should win just his third-cap while Cologne striker Lukas Podolski is expected to partner Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling up front.

After this weekend, Germany will hold two training camps, one in Sicily and one in the Italian Alps, and will face Hungary in their second warm-up game on May 29 in Budapest.

The 27-man group will be cut to 23 for the official World Cup squad and Germany will play their final warm-up game against Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 3 before flying to South Africa on June 6.

The Germans have drawn Australia, Ghana and Serbia in Group D and their first game is against the Australians on June 13 in Durban.



AFP 2010/05/13 11:48

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